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Importing Vehicle Into USA From Italy

Italy is known for high-end luxury items such as watches, suits, and shoes. It is also home to very popular vehicle brands such as Alpha Romeo, Ferrari, Pagani, Maserati, Lamborghini, Fiat, and Lancia. It is, therefore, not strange to find Americans vehicle-shopping in Italy. This trend makes Italy a popular destination and origin for International car shipping companies.

importing automobiles into the USA from Italy stress free for over 30 years

Cost & Time Examples for Import a Car from Italy

Palermo to (New York port)
to New York, NY
$1800$27519+5 days
Napoli to (California port)
to Los Angeles
$3700$35032+5 days
Genoa to (California port)
to Las Vegas, NV
$2500$45032+5 days
Palermo to (California port)
to Portland, OR
$3600$47532+6 days
Napoli to (California port)
to Phoenix, AZ
$3700$55032+6 days
Palermo to (New York port)
to Columbus, OH
$1800$55019+5 days
Genoa to (New York port)
to Charlotte, NC
$1500$57518+6 days
Genoa to (New York port)
to Chicago, IL
$1500$67518+6 days
Napoli to (New York port)
to Miami, FL
$2700$92520+7 days
Genoa to (California port)
to Dallas, TX
$2500$1,02532+7 days

*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.

*Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.

*Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.

*Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.

*Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.

But how is the import vehicle into the USA from Italy process? Read on to find out.

Category of import

There are different categories of car imports – permanent imports and temporary imports. To permanently import a car from Italy to the USA, you are either need to be a US citizen, a US company, or to hold a legal status to live and work in the US.

A vehicle that is imported temporarily stays within the US borders for a maximum of 12 months. Vehicles are temporarily imported for the following reasons;

  • Display
  • Leisure
  • Vacation
  • Events
  • Repair

Choosing a car

There are strict rules and regulations dictating the type of cars that enter the US. When buying a vehicle in Italy, insist on models manufactured for North America. If you are in the US, first confirm that the specific model you want is not available in local and national car dealerships.

A vehicle imported into the USA should be manufactured to US specifications. If not manufactured for the US, it should be older than 25 years. If it does not meet these two specifications, then it should be imported temporarily.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Car shipping options

After confirming that the vehicle is eligible for importing to the US, you need to find an international car shipping company. If you are in the US, find a shipping company that ships to ports in Italy. Similarly, if you are in Italy, consult a shipping company that delivers to the US.

Most car shipping companies transport vehicles internationally on the Roll on Roll off (RoRo) vessels. RoRo vessels are ships specially designed to transport automobiles. The vehicles to be transported are driven into the ship (roll on just as you would drive your car into a parking garage. Once in the vessel, the vehicles are firmly secured. On arrival at the destination, they are driven down out of the vessel (roll off).

The other option is transporting the vehicle in a container. The RoRo method is cheaper than the container method. Also, the departure and arrival dates for the RoRo vessels are highly reliable.

Most international shipping companies offer port-to-port shipping. Others can make arrangements for port-to-door, door-to-port, and the most convenient but expensive option, which is door-to-door.


Distance is the major factor that affects the cost of shipping. For instance, it will cost more to ship from Italy to the US West Coast than to the US East Coast. In RoRo shipping, the size of the vehicle also affects the price. Shipping companies are interested in the space the vehicle occupies, not its weight. Compare quotes from different shipping companies to try and get the best price.

Make sure that you insure your cargo by taking a marine cargo insurance policy. Most shipping companies have cargo insurance, but it is better to be sure. Their coverage might be smaller than all the cargo in transit.

Documents needed

Before you can import vehicle into USA from Italy, there are documents needed for clearance. These are:

  • Proof of ownership documents
  • Driving license
  • Passport
  • Vehicle’s registration plates

There are also custom duty fees that you need to pay at the port. Your shipping company should help you with this. Also, you have to provide the shipping company with the car keys, including the ignition key, car trunk keys and any other keys to any locked compartment in the car. Please note that international shipping companies do not allow you to put any personal belongings in the car to be transported. Here are more tips on preparing a car for shipping.

Customs clearance

After making the shipping arrangements, you should contact US customs. Give them the expected date of arrival. The shipment will be cleared through the Customs Office at the first port of entry. However, you can make arrangements with a freight forwarder to have the car sent in bond to a customs office near or more convenient to you.

The customs office will need to see:

  • Shippers bill of lading
  • The Italian vehicle registration documents
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Complete EPA form 3520-1 (this form confirms that the vehicle conforms with the EPA’s vehicle emission requirements)
  • Manufacturer’s printed vehicle specifications (in English)

That is how to import vehicle into USA from Italy. The process is straightforward once you familiarize yourself with it. Just remember that the vehicle you buy should be manufactured for North America, which all Italian manufacturers do, and conform with EPA’s emission regulations.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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